To build long-lasting, energy-efficient, healthy houses in the Florida peninsula and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, builders must take into account the unique climatic conditions of the area. Code guidelines are not always helpful, since the CABO One & Two Family Dwelling Code and the Model Energy Code are mostly written for heating climates and advocate construction practices that often are the opposite of what should be done in cooling climates. In the summertime along the Gulf Coast and Florida, the outside air is hot and moisture-laden, so most homes are air conditioned (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Moisture control practices for hot, humid climates (shaded area) are almost the exact opposite of recommended building practices for cold climates, because moisture is more likely to enter wall cavities from outside than from inside. Under these conditions, code-approved building practices such as ventilated crawlspaces or the use of...

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